Improved stadia and intelligence-led policing may have reduced football hooliganism in grounds but it can still explode on our streets.
Simon Thomas, a Birmingham City supporter, tells of being attacked in the city centre after Saturday's Blues-Spurs game, while Villa fan Tony Capelli recalls some near encounters in the "bad old days"...
"I'm a Blues fan" was my desperate plea as I spun around trying to keep my balance. Another strike to the back of the head left me reeling. It's funny the thoughts that thrash through your mind in these life-defining moments.
"I'm going to die in a gutter in Digbeth. I wonder if many people will attend the memorial service?" and bizarrely "Did I unplug the iron?"
The pack has sensed a kill and is moving in. It reminded me of a scene from David Attenborough's Planet Earth where wild dogs appear from nowhere to hunt down an impala. The impala manages to escape across water and the dogs retreat looking for another victim. However, it's not looking that great for me.
I remember Sir David proclaiming with relish: "The dog has stamina, the impala has speed."
My 20-stone frame has neither.
Perhaps the police will save me or some concerned onlookers with a social conscience bigger than their desire for self-preservation?
In the end though, it's an unlikely hero that comes to my rescue. With one last effort to save my hide, I shout "I'm a Blues fan" in that Brummie accent that has cursed me in so many job interviews.
The dogs stand down, recognising one of their own. With a consoling, but ultimately unsympathetic "Sorry mate, we thought you was Spurs", they decide to look elsewhere for a bit of knuckle. On reflection, I'm not sure what angers me more, the unprovoked beating or the incorrect use of grammar.
I have been a season ticket holder at Birmingham City for 20 of my 30 years. I follow them all over the country and this is the first time I've ever been attacked.
I had always been led to believe that a code of honour existed among hooligans that prevented them from assaulting genuine supporters, but clearly all those glorifying (sorry, insightful) television documentaries had got it wrong. I turned to my shocked friend and asked him the question I needed answering most: "Why me?"
Before the gutless assault from behind by nearly 20 people, I'd been trying to hail a taxi to take me into town to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. Maybe the pack didn't like the way I used an arm/hand combination to flag down a Hackney carriage. Perhaps my eagerness to use a "London" mode of transport, led them to believe I "was Spurs".
Perhaps the fact that I was wearing a check shirt, expensive jumper and nice coat had got them going? I think we have a winner. I thought I'd dressed for a pleasant evening in town. They thought I looked like a "football casual".
For the uninitiated, a football casual is a person dripping in designer gear who prowls around outside football games looking for other "football casuals" from, although clearly not exclusively, opposition towns or cities for the purposes of generating a fight.
I've tried to avoid the word supporter in this definition, as these people aren't followers of football at all, but rather, small-minded, pitiful individuals who like to associate themselves with the club I support, to give them a vehicle for their brutal tribalism.
As I sit here nursing mild concussion and a sore head, I wonder what I can conclude from Saturday's life experience and if anything can be done to prevent this sort of thing happening again?
Should I resign myself to the fact that these things happen and take comfort from Ray Liotta's proclamation in Goodfellas of "The way I saw it, everyone takes a beating sometime"? Or should I fight back, lobbying my MP, imploring the police to act as brutally and indiscriminately as my assailants?
Personally, I'd like to have a little area fenced off at each game where football casuals can cause as much damage to each other as they like, on the understanding that there will be no medical attention.
That is perhaps a little too gladiatorial for many tastes and it runs the risk of hero worship, although I can't help being amused at the thought of the crowd waiting in hushed anticipation as David Sullivan decides to save the casual with a thumbs-up, or let him perish with a thumbs-down.
Perhaps I'll just burn my expensive jumper and shirt.